What is Cholesterol :
It is a soft waxy lipid (fat) that can not be dissolved in blood. This fatty substance is made in liver itself from certain fats present in the diet. A small amount is also obtained pre-formed from animal based food such as meat, egg yolk and prawn(shrimps).
Importance of Cholesterol:
It acts as an important building blocks and is used to make:
* Healthy cell membrane.
* Steroid hormone such as cortisol, oestrogen, testrogen, progestron.
* Bile acid
* Co-enzyme Q-10 a vit. like substance essential for processing oxygen and generating energy within cell.
Certain amount of cholesterol is vital for health, but excess cholesterol clogs arteries and increases the risk of coronary heart diseases.Nature has provided a special mechanism to stop flushing too much cholesterol. The only way to excrete cholesterol is via. liver into bile. Bile is stored in gallbladder then squirted into small intestine to help digest dietary fats. Almost 97% of cholesterol reaching this way is absorbed straight back into the blood stream and sent back to liver for processing. The only significant way to lose it from body is break it down and burn it as fuel.
Types of Cholesterol:
1. High Density Lipoprotein HDL
2. Low Density Lipoprotein LDL
The only difference between the two is in their relative size and weight.
- High Density Lipoprotein HDL: These are large, heavy particles that are two big to big to be engulfed by scavenger cells or to seep into artery walls. This is therefore also called good Cholesterol as it stays in blood stream and help to carry LDL cholesterol back to liver for processing. Thus higher the level of HDL lower is the risk of Cardiovascular disease. Research’s show that for every 1% rise in HDL cholesterol, risk of heart attack falls as much as 2%.
- Low Density Lipoprotein LDL: These are tiny light particles and can seep easily into the gaps between the cells lining the artery walls. It is also prone to oxidation (damage by rouge free radical cells) that lead to various diseases and is easily engulfed by scavenger cells which hasten antherosclerosis. Thus this is also called Bad cholesterol. So higher the level of LDL higher is the risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
- Triglyceride: Most fats in the diet and in the body are stored in form of triglyceride. Liver packages up triglyceride to be transported round the body as very low- density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles. which also contain some cholesterol. As VLDL passes through circulation, triglyceride component are burned as fuel or stored as fats what remains become smaller and dense and convert into bad LDL particles. So having raised blood level of triglyceride can also raise cholesterol level and cardiovascular disease.
What Raises Cholesterol:
- Hereditary : Around 1 in 500 people across world possess a faulty copy of geans that is needed to catch LDL. As a result of which cholesterol level rises, leading to premature antherosclerosis and increased risk of heart attack in their early 30’s and 40’s.
- Diet : Some people eat food which are rich in cholesterol and saturated fats thus increasing LDL levels.
- Overweight : Too much weight increases LDL cholesterol level while lowering HDL level.
- Lack of Exercises : Regular excercise lowers ‘bad’ LDL Cholesterol and raises ‘good’ HDL.
- Thyroid Functions : Underactive thyroid gland slows metabolism which lead to a decline in cholesterol breakdown, though its production in normal this causes an imbalance.
- Kidney Function : Researchs shows a link between long term kidney disease and high triglyceride level and low HDL Cholesterol level.
How To Reduce Blood Cholesterol :
- Taking foods rich in omega3, antioxidants, mono saturated fats, help in reducing risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and stroke.
- Lose Weight: Check size of waist in cms. if its greater than 80 am and you are female and more than 94 and male than you are apple shaped. Storing fat around your middle (Central Obesity) increases the risk of heart disease by 70%.
- Exercises: Proper and regular exercises increases metabolic rate by as much as 10 times mobilising fat stores and increasing rate at which they are burned for fuel in muscle cells.
- Quit smoking.
- Keep your alcohol intake at sensible level.
- Avoid stress and relax.
Ideal – less than 5mmol/l
Mildly High- bet 5-6.4mmol/l
Moderate high-bet 6.5- 7.8mmol/l
Very high- above 7.8mmol/l
200mg/dl is considered Desirable.
200-239mg/dl is borderline high risk.
240-mg/dl and over is high risk.